Quirks in the Writing Process

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Welcome to Think About It Friday. A post where we can ruminate on the writing process, weird news or quirks of the everyday world.

Today I’m looking at my writing process. Every writer does it differently. The truth is the writing process is as unique to the author as his or her voice. Which is why all those fantastic writing classes we take end up having to be filtered through the sieve of our own making so we can save what will work and toss out the rest.

In the last few weeks between finishing writing The Slayer, the second steampunk book for Zebra and starting (and hopefully finishing soon) Shadowlander, the  novella kicking off my Shadow Sisters series for Entangled Publishing, I’ve found I’ve got a weird writing process quirk. It doesn’t have to do with character development (although I do some strange stuff for that, too.). It doesn’t have to do with creating massive maps of my imaginary worlds. It actually has to do with the business part of my writing brain.

Apparently, part of my writing process is to go on a job hunt in the middle of the book. I don’t know if it’s some psychological release valve, helping me cope with the momentary insanity of how-will-I-ever-finish-this-book, or more of a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that I should be doing more than I am to support the household bottom line. Either way it’s a massive time suck.

I send out applications. I troll websites. I actually go on interviews and I’ve taken jobs. But they aren’t career builders. They are the day jobs that I can work around the kids’ schedules. Because, really, it isn’t bad enough that mom spends a huge chunk of her time glommed onto the computer cavorting with imaginary people in imaginary worlds rather than playing another round of Uno or folding the laundry that’s piled up on the couch.

Now I’ll be painfully honest and say while it’s been the most amazing year to have four books out on the shelves, it hasn’t been the most profitable. Writers don’t make nearly what you think they do. In fact right now I’d make more substitute teaching six days a month. I’m hoping that’ll start to turn around as my first royalty statements come in, but I’m not going to count those fluffy little chicks until they start laying some nest eggs in my bank account.

I sometimes wish writing were just for the sake of art. It’s not. This is a full time job, mixed with a half-time volunteering position, mixed with a whole lot of crazy. I write because I have to find some way of relieving all this stuff that flutters through my brain. I write because I love ideas and research and characters. I write because I hope that someday I’ll be able to tell my husband, hey, yeah, I really was our retirement plan like you said and didn’t it all work out great.

*sigh* For now it’s just part of the process. It’s how I get the book written. It’s how I cope with thinking I should be doing more. Making more to help out in these tough economic times. Even though I must say getting certified to be a paralegal looks like it might be fun. I considered going into law when I was younger. Or maybe I should try teaching as an adjunct rather than a substitute. I love being in the classroom. I gain a lot from working with others and some days miss it intensely. Humm. Choices. Choices.

Writers should learn from every book they write. Even if it’s a little something about themselves.

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